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NASA photographs fireball streaking across Pennsylvania skies

Astronomers say the meteor came within 62 miles of the Earth's surface.

By
Brooks Hays

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- NASA cameras, along with several hundred amateur astronomers, caught a glimpse of an impressive fireball as it streaked across the Mid-Atlantic late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. Sightings were reported in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Photos captured by NASA cameras at observatories in Ohio and Pennsylvania corroborate eyewitness accounts. One camera at the Allegheny Observatory, near Pittsburgh, was able to record video of the streaking fireball.

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A fireball is an exceptionally bright meteor, or as the International Astronomical Union says "a meteor brighter than any of the planets." This particular meteor entered Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 45,000 mph, burning up as it traveled through the upper layers.

Astronomers say the meteor came within 62 miles of the Earth's surface, which means the it likely burned up along the border of the ionosphere and mesosphere. It's possible small fragments made their way to the ground.

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